Chapter 32 - What’s going to come
I slowly opened the lids of my eyes and was welcomed with the relative dark of the devastated cavern. Dust bit my eyes and the rubble, strewn around the once epic in scale and beauty, cave, obstructing my view even further.
From just a distance away from me, I heard a little moan breaking the silence and beauty in the devastation. My mind was still hazy from the beam and the mana that was released together with it. Below the rubble, just beside me, the moan developed into a grunt of effort and pain. With a desperate heave, a part of the rubble moved aside thrown of the body laying below.
I could just see a flicker of green skin shine through the devastation and immediately ran to help the trapped orc. After a lot of grunting and heaving, interrupted by groans of pain, the debris finally fell away and revealed the bruised and beaten body of Yam. The orc parties leader had apparently taken quite a hit during the commotion and was buried under the resulting waste.
After we had both calmed down from the catastrophe and formed a clear mind of the situation we began searching for the others. With the fuzzy feeling having fallen from my sight I finally noticed the still moving shapes in the beam's epicenter.
Looking at Yam we let all the reasons for us to fight fall for the moment. The most important thing now was the life and well-being of our friends. We desperately rushed to the strewn-around bodies of our friends and companions, hoping they survived the battle as unscathed as possible.
The view that welcomed us once we reached the crater was heartbreaking. The living were mixed in with the dead. Their bodies lying one upon the other, trying to protect those dear to them with their own soul, mind, and body, for they continue on living for them.
Covering the Avian king’s body like a soft blanket protecting a young boy from the monsters below the bed. Aliet’s partner’s feathers, burned in the intense stare of the sun, trying to desperately protect her friend with the last her weak body would give her so far into the fight.
The still-living king’s mimic was contorted into a deep frown and slow tears were making their way down his face. They fell from his bruised-up cheeks and hit his best friend's last unburned and good feathers, only to sink deep into the small hairs creating her once majestic wings.
They both gave the quiet scenery a somber feel like the morning after a long night out. The mind is still hazy from the Alcohol from last night and just waking up to all the mistakes and wrong moves made in the drunken state.
Assured of Aliet‘s health I continued observing the clearing created by the beam. I spotted Arthur laying at the far end of the crater, the partially absorbed body of my last defender, the Boss Nightwalker, making it difficult for him to stand up. After finally getting the beast off his chest he took a look around and we met eyes.
I could see the relief and happiness over us both being quite well shown in his eyes as he light-up once he saw I was up and healthy. Though he too quickly noticed the somber look in my eyes and too was overcome with pity and compassion once sighting the awful view of Aliet and his royal Griffin.
Ripping me out of the quiet and idyllic quietness of the somber scene was a loud creak follow by an ear ringing crash. Looking behind me I saw one of the beams of the snake construct, burned through by the beam of light, crash to the ground and just missing one of the orcs.
They were all laying there in a heap of sadness. Their dead bodies trying to protect each other so much, even the previous puppet, Mergigoth, lay on top of all of them a satisfied smile adorning her burned face.
Just as I wanted to turn around to try to inform Yam, who just now made it to the clearing, due to his injuries, I heard something from behind me. From amidst the heap of dead and burned bodies, I could hear a desperate groan. A hand slowly made its way out trying to climb out from underneath the corpses.
Quickly I made my way to the last hope for any of Yam’s companions still being alive. The hand slowly grow slower and slower until it fell down to the ground limb. My hopes were lost, though I still tried to rescue the bodies out of the hill of death.
Enemy by Friend I slowly cleared the body buried underneath its friends and slowly came to realize it was Varbuk. Once I had him free of the hell hole I tried to sense for any sign of life, waiting out the seconds it took me. In the meantime, Yam had made his way to the clearing and upon seeing his friends in the state they were broke down just meters from them.
With an empty look in his eyes, he stared at the ground in disbelief of what was happening to him. Interrupted by a louder syllable of life detect spell of me he looked up to see the mostly unscathed body of the orcish goblin summoner. A hint of hope lit up his face and it broke my core to see this.
The detect life spell hadn’t shown any signs of any of the orc being alive, not even Varbuk. Catching the look I gave him, I was sure Yam would never be able to recover from this. Those people around him were more to friends to the party's leader, they were the family that was stolen from him in his rigorous training.
As the look in his eyes changed from emptiness to hope to a festering darkness a splitting headache threatened to break apart my mind. It was as if there was something within me wanting to break free, something strange to me though closer than anything I ever felt.
This hint of spectral energy escaped the crack in my core and made it was out into the battlefield. Through my slowly dissolving avatar, I could see it coming closer to my spectral dungeon form.
Once close to me it felt as if standing across from a mirror that shown not your own but some alternative face of yours. Slowly the flare of energy made its way towards my avatar and with a surprisingly quick sum, made its way into my head.
Like being struck by lightning a hint of something entered my mind. A second later I awoke in the body of my slowly dissolving avatar and changed my view into some weird spectral realm.
The light from before guided me along to steps to do something I apparently already knew all too well. In this realm, I found the souls of those that passed during the fight. The spirit of the royal griffin gave me a somber though happy look, relieved to have saved his longtime partner.
Next, I saw the spirits of the orc party. The soul of Zilge was just a glimmer in comparison to the beacon of Varbuk. His soul still fresh and soon to die was even still second to the one of duma, the orcs’ tank. Her soul burned with a bright and calming red reminding her of the kindness and bravery she showed in her life.
Everything made itself clear to me now, this memory, hint, or guidance that revealed itself to me here and now had a purpose that I finally understood. Following the instructions given to me by the flare, I started the ritual of reincarnation.
Using the kind and brave soul of duma and binding it to the one of Varbuk I brought them back to the living. My strength was still too limited to bring back both of them whole though I had a way to work around it. With the ritual coming to a close I spotted the dark soul of Mergigoth. A strang of energy connected her to something sinister and bad up beyond the spectral realm and corrupted her soul though I still noticed the core of pure white deep within her.
Coming back from the spectral realm Varbuk laying next to me threw up liters of purplish blood but slowly came to himself. The Tier level he was giving of was far lower than before and his evolution changed quite a bit. Interrupted from his grieve and development of plans to revenge on his friends he couldn’t stop a smile splitting his face once he saw his friend up and healthy.
Yam and the new goblimental summoner hugged deep and I gave them some space to talk with my own companions and deal with the grieve we all had to experience here today.
It has been two weeks till the catastrophic fight in the 8th zone and we all had gotten a lot of time to adjust to our new lives. The grieve was mostly over with and we were looking towards the future with a more down-to-earth approach, having learned a lot during the last month.
Yam, Aliet, Arthur, and I were currently for a meeting in the castle surrounding my dungeon's surface entrance. The cities first district was fully rebuilt already and the second district only needed some touches here and there.
The combined souls of Varbuk and Duma had decided to go on an adventure around the planet trying to find their purpose and a way to deal with their new and confusing situation. They needed some space to relax and find themselves and wanted to disconnect themselves from their previous life full of training and missions.
Yam in the meanwhile wanted to remain with the force I was assembling to fight against the new enemy we found ourselves. After the fight, Yam had revealed to me their benefactor. “The First”, had sent him and his party here on the mission to extract my core out of my dungeon and bring me to them.
After talking about it with Yam and the two kings we rumored about various possibilities, though we're sure of one thing, war was coming. They had at first tried to build up a partnership with me through bribing and once this didn’t work simply planned to kidnap me for some unknown plans.
So now we were assembled here in the tower of the castle for a discussion for how to go on. “The First” clearly was a lot more powerful than us all together, as we could witness from just a hired party from them nearly wiping out my whole dungeon. This called for some more extreme measures than just us four binding together, we had to call for backup.
Over our discussion, we discussed possible allies we could bring unto our side and how we would start this endeavor. The meeting to the whole night and we threw around hundreds of ideas.
In the end, we couldn’t really come to a perfect master plan, though we at least had an idea to work from. First, we would need to unify the Four Kingdoms, the elves, the dwarves, the humans, and the orcs. Together with any allies, we made along the path we would surely be a step closer to calling an end to “The First” schemes and ploys.
This plan was also what lead me to find myself traveling away from the Orc Tribedoms capital towards the Rogue Dungeon. Together with Yam, a high general of the orcs we were able to convince the majority of the tribes to fight against “The First”.
A first step in the direction of defeating my age-old enemy that has finally stepped into the light for me to see them.
My journey brought me to own a hilly road until I finally found myself before the entrance of one just as myself. The first time I ever got into contact with someone of the same race as myself. I had already known for so long about the existence of the dungeon but till now was not able to visit due to adventures, battles, and developments, but now I was here.
I entered the cave, the tunnels reminding me of my own entrance all those years ago. The rough stone walls and slick floor covered in luscious moss ended in a relatively large cavern. A small forest in the center gathered around a cold underground river giving life to the hard and dark cave.
Various monsters of dozens of species looked at me from behind shrubbery, bushes, and the rare tree. Their eyes filled with curiosity and a hint of fear. After a small fight between the two emotions, I saw the curiosity, natural to all creatures alive and not, win over the other emotion.
Following this a saw the silhouette of a soul avatar manifest itself in the spectral realm. No normal person would be able to see it though I was, connected inertly through being the same race I quickly changed my view in the other realm.
There I found the soul of the second dungeon on this planet. Its form, in comparison to mine, was still quite underdeveloped, like the soul of a young child still making its first steps in the world.
I knew I would not be really able to talk to it yet, it was still too young for it, though I could communicate in other ways. Connecting to it through a mental strand we shared our emotions and thoughts clear of any speech and language.
The rogue dungeon was not as wild as those living around it may think. The curiosity of a child combined with the love for experimentation was giving the orcs a difficult time, though I was sure that with time and some help the dungeon would become something great.
The experience reminded me of my own “childhood” and the challenges I had to go through. I wanted it too to experience the emotions I had felt in my time growing up but something bothered me.
Together with being born as a dungeon comes loneliness. We were social creatures that wanted to communicate under ourselves or even with others but were unable to. Our own peers were unable to easily communicate with us due to our rareness and immovability.
This was something I wanted to change, I wanted to give the young dungeon cores growing up in this world a partner or friend accompanying them on their journey.
With an idea born in my mind and a will to work for it, I cut the meeting with my “younger brother” close. I always was more work-oriented and with two big goals to work towards I was pumped for what was to come.
After finally having been in contact with one of my own races I continued my journey back to my own dungeon. There was a lot to do, a new floor to build, a new Tier to reach, a new alliance to announce, and new allies to meet.
I reached exulcastra only half a week after my first meeting and was just about to get into a meeting with the others when a shockwave hit the planet. It felt similar to the time I broke through to the 5th Tier though this time it was significantly stronger.
Someone had broken through into the 10 Tier and entered the second step in the Immortal Realm, the step of the Master.
I was already sure who the creature was who broke through into the next realm. “The First” was gaining strength fast and our goal just got significantly more difficult.
Though I had the motivation to go on to the end, especially once I heard the news arriving at the city through the new communication lines. Apparently “The First” had sent an assassin to steal my own flesh, the rogue dungeon, and kidnapped him to the Territory of “The First”.
I hoped that he would still be alive but the wave of Tier 10 energy traveling around the world told me otherwise.
A War lay waiting on the horizon, to its extend more vast than even the sky itself. It would consume the planet and destroy countless lives, though it had to be fought. So that one day there may be peace!!!!